The US Embassy in Ghana has spent more than $2.3 million in Special Self-Help grants to support development at the grassroots level over last three decades.
Established in 1964, the Ambassador’s Self-Help Programme draws on the philosophy that small assistance to a community that is motivated to help its self can go a long way to better their living condition.
Mr. Robert Jackson, the US Ambassador to Ghana, disclosed this during the commissioning of a Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound at Guo in the Nandom District of the Upper West Region.
“We are pleased to have supported this project with our contribution of $6,600 for building materials, but the real efforts were yours”, he said.
“We are honoured to have partnered you and commend your dedication and hard work to complete this project and promote development in your community”, he added.
Mr Jackson said the CHPS compounds were critical to providing access to health care and reducing preventable maternal and child deaths; pointing out that the expanded facility built by the community with support of the US Embassy was a testimony to the importance the community placed on their health and well-being.
The US Ambassador said Ghana had a lot of promise to contribute to the global economy and security, but that could not happen without a healthy population.
“Healthy children can go to school and grow into healthy, educated adults who can contribute to Ghana’s success”, he said.
Dr. Joseph Teye Nuertey, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, noted that though maternal and child health care had improved over the past years, the pace had been slow and noted that extra effort was therefore required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to reducing maternal and neonatal morbidities and mortalities.
Dr. Nuertey said to achieve the SDGs, factors including bridging the infrastructure gap, provision of essential basic equipment, transportation, education, strengthening staff capacity, and increasing training of critical staff must be addressed.
He said efforts had been made by Community Health Officers at the Guo CHPS to improve on maternal health indicators as evidenced in their First Trimester Antenatal Registration of 75.8 per cent in 2016 to 77.1 per cent in the year 2017.
The commissioning of the facility would further improve on maternal and infant health in the community and its environs, he added.
Mr. Aasoglenang Thaddeus Arkum, the Nandom District Chief Executive, (DCE) thanked the Ambassador and the American government for supporting the District to empower women in the agriculture, governance, education, health, water and sanitation.
He said the support helped the district to be declared the first Open Defecation Free (ODF) district in the region and the orthopaedic centre at the St. Theresa’s Hospital in Nandom was inundated with hundreds of accident patients from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Niger but with limited space.
He therefore appealed to the US government to help in the establishment of a proposed orthopaedic hospital to help address the challenge.